In college, they talk about pride and courage.
In the NFL, they talk about technique, unless you're on a losing team, in which case they start talking about pride again.
?Allow me to introduce you to my new buddy William Car. We met today as I pulled into the parking lot of AZ Golf Works. I needed to get my?driver fixed and he was out of "juice"--the batteries of his motorized scooter's batteries had died. My man Bill (as his friends call him), was on his way home when he?stalled. I asked him if he had a plan to resolve his dilemma, or if there was anyone I could call for him.
Unfortunately Bill's wife was unavailable, and his plan was to?find someone to help him. It turned out, I was that help. I was unable?to find an electrical outlet, so I had Bill jump on his scooter and I pushed him home (about a half mile). During our cruise down University Ave. in Tempe, I discovered that?Bill is a hell of a guy-trained soldiers to operate tanks during WWII, and moved to AZ years ago. He'll be 82 on April 7th.
It turns out, AZ Golf Works was closed so I headed home when I?realized the Pro Bowl is this weekend.?I was?nominated to the?2004 Pro Bowl as the "need player."? After the regular season, I received a phone call from Jason Jenkins (49ers PR guy) as I was headed to my class at ASU. I could not believe it because a Long Snapper had not been selected to the Pro Bowl since the 70's. I quickly contacted my family and we all headed to Hawaii. The 2004 Pro Bowl was one of the greatest times of my life during one of the worst times of my life. It truly made me believe that anything is possible.
When I was introduced before the game I laughed because I had not been introduced at a game since my Senior Day at ASU. I was an un-recruited walk on and never started a game in college. In high school I spent most of my time as a menace to society not a star athlete. When I was 17,?I was on house arrest for kids....the next thing I know I'm playing in the Pro Bowl.? Miracles happen.
The spring of 2005 was the lowest and most challenging times of my life,?as the?Pro Bowl happened amid a series of personal tragedies that began on April 22, 2004 and continued through August 20,2005. The?first date may sound familiar--the day Pat Tillman was killed. The second date is the day that Thomas Herrion died after one of our preseason games. During this year and a half misfortune hit my life like a freight train. Including a 2-14 season, a pair of family crisises, and the death of a couple more of my friends including Brandon Falkner (March 26, 2005) who was killed while leaving a night club in Scottsdale. The cumulative effects of these events?forever changed the direction of my life. Yet some how, some way, I was selected to the Pro Bowl--the one bright spot or ray of hope during some dark days. A little encouragement to keep going and the knowledge that each day could contain a miracle.
In February 2004 I needed some help, today my man William Car needed some help. It took a few minutes out of my day and William made it home safely. When I was named to the Pro Bowl, Coach Mora did not know that I was stuck, floundering, and drifting into depression, but he helped me out when I needed it. I will forever be grateful to the NFL and Coach Mora for taking me to the Pro Bowl that year, and as for Bill, his sincere handshake and thank you was?more than?I needed.
God Bless and Go Team.
While the Cardinals and Steelers are enjoying their Super Bowl experience, I will be here in Scottsdale living the dream. I have begun exercising in the morning from 8 to 9:30, then I head to the Breakfast Club in Scottsdale. On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday I take a class at Scottsdale Community College, but the rest of my week is pretty much free for golf, yoga, and general recreation.
This weekend is the Phoenix Open so I will join about 100,000 other "golf enthusiasts" for a weekend of fun in the sun. I jokingly refer to Open attendees as "golf enthusiasts" because in the many years I have attended the event, I don't know anyone who has watched more than three shots. I'm pretty sure the Open is more like NASCAR than the British Open (neither of which I have attended).
Today while playing golf at the Phoenician, I couldn't help but think about the unlikely appearance of the Cardinals in the Super Bowl. For the sake of full disclosure, which I arguably should have mentioned in an earlier post: I will always pick against the Cardinals.
For some reason, in 1988 the Cardinals moved to Arizona and I (like many AZ residents) wanted to become fans. Unfortunately, in their 19 pre-Whisenhunt seasons, the Cardinals won an average of 5.4 games a year. Made it tough for reasonable people to consider themselves fans of the lose-67%-of-their-games-Cardinals.
Based on results, I have to acknowledge that with a new stadium and Michael Bidwell in charge, their coaching staff and players have been on fire during the playoffs. It's as if the Cardinals are a whole different organization. Maybe these guys know what they're doing? But then again, people in Arizona are transplants from other cities with hobbies, interests, and an entire state to explore so next year when the Cardinals lose 3 or 4 games in a row, their shiny new stadium will become an expensive echo chamber.
That brings me to the beginning of the end for the Cardinals... Super Bowl Sunday. The Steelers are a team prepared to win another Super Bowl. With the best defense in the NFL, a physical offense that can score points, and a special teams unit that chews up "hidden" yardage, the Cardinals will not finish first in this game. ("If you're not first, you're last." - Ricky Bobby)
Much like the 1988 Bengals who where defeated by the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII, the Cardinals will return to obscurity. Until they prove me wrong... Steelers win.